The Gospel and the Guilt-ridden Mom

Do you ever feel guilty about your mothering role? Someone posts an article about the role of mothering, and instead of finding encouragement and inspiration to pursue godliness in your role as a mom, you feel guilty.

Maybe I am not doing enough as a Mom. I could be better. I could do more. I could be more attentive. I could be more intentional. I could give them more opportunities. And the list goes on.

True. We can all do better. None of has reached perfection as a mom (or wife, or person), and we never will reach perfection. We should always be striving, by God’s grace, to move forward.

But we should also not dwell on our mistakes. We should not let our failures drive us down into the pit of self-pity, or self-deprecation.

I have sometimes felt the weight of Mommy-guilt. In these moments, I point you and me both to the Gospel.

My Identity Is In Christ

As a believer, my identity is in Christ, not in my mothering skills, or any other role that I may be filling at present. I do not need to perfect the art of mothering in order to have a better standing before God or anyone else. My worth is not in how well, or how poorly I mother. My worth is only in the perfected work of Christ on the cross. And because my identity is not in any of my roles here on earth, I find freedom from the self-imposed guilt of my less-than-perfect state.

Christ Frees Us From the Law

We humans are prone to extremes. We often either live freely with no boundaries, or we self-impose our own laws. With the self-imposed law, we can mentally flagellate ourselves when we don’t meet our own standard, or we become Pharisaical when we have mastered our own set of laws. But the standard is perfection, which none of us meets. And yet, Christ came to earth, met the perfect standard, and died on the cross, so that we are completely free from the law. Why then would we wallow in the mire of our own set of standards? It neither meets the perfect standard, nor rests on Christ’s perfect work. It can only be discouraging.

Guilt is a Form of Fear

Our guilt is very often a form of fear. We all want the best for our children. We all want to do right as a mother. “Maybe my children won’t get what they need?” “Maybe I have not provided enough opportunities for them?” “Perhaps I have not spent enough time with them?” When we encounter fear, we look to a Sovereign God. Our children are not in our hands, but in the hands of a loving Savior. Daily, sometimes hourly, we cast our fears for their future, and fears about our imperfect parenting into the hands of a loving God.

My Position in Christ Motivates Me

When I am daily dwelling on what my Savior has done for me, though so unworthy, it incites a desire to become more like Him. I strive to pursue godliness. I do this, not out of guilt or fear, but out of a sincere love for God, because of what He has done for me. The undeserved grace He has shown me makes me strive to become more conformed to Him. And the undeserved grace He showed me at salvation, is the same undeserved grace He gives me in the day to day role of mothering.

So my dear friend, when you struggle with guilt over your own short-comings, just as we all do at times, cling to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is our salvation.


  1. You’re right, we did write posts that go hand-in-hand! It’s so easy to separate our live into compartments and forget that our identity in Christ should pervade everything we do – including parenting. Thanks for your encouragement to integrate our lives with the truth of our identity in Christ and freedom from the law. Excellent post.

  2. Thank you for this encouraging post–it is exactly what I needed to read/hear and be reminded of!

  3. Well said. When we focus on Christ instead of ourselves and our shortcomings, we find peace and rest. Sometimes knowing that you can’t do it all well is freeing.

  4. Right on, Johanna. Way to say it!

  5. Great thoughts – even for non-Mom’s :) Our identity is in Christ alone, not in all the roles we try to play here on earth.

  6. Lindsay Reimer says:

    This post reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a friend who just attended her grandmothers funeral. My friend was disturbed by the countless mentions at the funeral of her grandmas baking and cooking- but never her love for Jesus or the gospel. My friend said she wanted people to remember Christ when they remember ger. She feels compelled to live with more focus on her identity in Christ, not finding her identity in anything else (I.e. giftedness, etc). So wonderful to be reminded of our true hope!

    • Johanna says:

      Oh, what a GREAT perspective, Lindsay. Thanks so much for sharing. Sometimes it is definitely helpful to reflect on how we want to be remembered!


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